Women’s Track Destroys N.E. Division III Scoring DroughtBy Deborah S. Won
MIT women’s track and field set several milestones after the NEWMAC conference championships. Not only did Alyssa Thorvaldsen ’00 become the first woman in Tech Track history to qualify automatically for the NCAA Championships but also she became Tech Track’s first ever female All-American.
Princess Imoukhuede ’02 also earned a berth at nationals, by throwing the hammer 156’2” at the New England Division III Championships. Like Thorvaldsen, Imoukhuede made her second appearance at the NCAA’s, this season held at North Central College, IL May 25th-27th.
Three weekends earlier, MIT placed eighth out of 31 teams, behind only the highest caliber schools who have traditionally had big reputations in the sport. Heptathlete Theresa Burianek G set a personal record (PR) with 3,672 points, a mere seven points shy of the school record, with tremendous performances such as her 16.71 PR in the 100-meter hurdles and 28.11 PR in the 200. She got those seven points, plus twenty-five points to spare the following weekend at ECAC’s to claim another PR in the heptathlon and a new varsity record.
More individual success
Chi-An Wang ’01 continued to shave seconds off her PR in the 800, setting a varsity record of 2:20.24, only 0.01 seconds off All New England qualifying standards. Afua Banful ’03 claimed fourth place and the school rookie record in the 100-meter dash with 12.86 seconds.
Jan Ting ’00 consistently had excellent 10K performances since NEWMAC’s, and scored at N.E. Div III’s. Vaulters Stephanie Norris ’02 and Vanessa Li ’02 scored big for MIT with second and third places. Both had made it on the NCAA provisional list.
At ECAC’s, MIT brought home its first piece of hardware for women’s track and field with a third place finish out of 20 schools. Norris and Li took first and second, respectively in the vault. Banful placed third in both the 100 and 200 to finish out her outstanding freshman year.
Robin Evans also closed her strong year of running with another great 5,000m race for a third place finish in 19:06. Thorvaldsen won the 100-meter hurdles and captured third place in the 400-meter hurdles with another NCAA qualifying time. Having secured a third place team finish but second place was far from reach, MIT entered a memorable 4x400-meter relay comprised of the four team captains. They placed fourth in the relay.
It was only years ago that scoring at NE Div. III’s was rarity for MIT women’s track and field. ECAC and All NE qualifiers were seldom found, making nationals no more than a fantasy for this team. However, in this year alone, the program has boasted 55 NE Div. III qualifications, 39 for ECACs, 17 for All New England’s, and 12 NCAA qualifications.